Thursday, January 12, 2012

Saving Money on Heating Costs

People cringe when I tell them that our thermostat is set to 55 degrees during the winter months.  Many mention that I am taking my frugality to the extreme, but there is a method to my madness.

Our home is a 1890 sq. ft. ranch with a large footprint.  This means that it is quite a distance from one end of the house to the next, and our furnace is located at one end of the house…outside!  When we purchased our home back in 2007, the furnace that came with the house was not functional, and actually caught on fire at some point before we bought the home.  Needless to say, we needed to replace it, but at the time, we didn’t have $6,000+ to get a high-efficiency furnace. 

Handy hubby did some research and found an outdoor furnace for less than $2,000.  We decided to purchase the furnace with the understanding that we would keep the thermostat low and heat only the rooms we were using.
Pot Bellied Stove (that needs painted!)
The fans are to help circulate the air.

Todd installed a pot bellied wood-burning stove at one end of the house and there was an existing fireplace at the other end of the house.  It just so happens that the pot bellied stove is in the living room which is directly in front of our bedroom.  We stoke the fire and stay nice and cozy in our bedroom (it also helps that we have a heating pad on our mattress to keep us warm at night). 

We have purchased only one cord of wood since we’ve had the wood-burning stove for over 4 years.  We go through about a cord a year, and the remaining wood has come from trees that have been cut down or fallen due to storms around our property.  We have enough firewood to last us a good 2-3 years, and that is not including the 3 trees we expect to take down next year.

 The fireplace is in the family room, which is also really handy, because we spend most of our time as a family in this room.  This fireplace is not a wood-burning fireplace due to maintenance issues and my fear of the house catching on fire.  We decided to purchase propane logs for less than $250 to help heat this room. 

Ceiling fans have helped us tremendously to circulate the heat around our home.  Every room in our home has at least one ceiling fan.  Not only does it help circulate the heat in the winter, but it also helps to keep the house cool in the summer!

One day, when the windows are replaced, when we get more insulation in the attic and insulate the walls, we will get a high-efficiency furnace.  I cannot guarantee we will turn up the thermostat past 60, but I can guarantee that we will get a new furnace at some point.

We pretty much live in two rooms of the house, and both of those rooms are very close to our heat
sources.  I don’t see the sense in heating the rest of the house that goes unused. ((This makes it sound like we need to downsize, but I feel our home is the perfect size for us and hopefully a few children in the future!))

As a side note, I hate the thought of cutting trees down to keep our home warm.  We have plans to plant bamboo which grows quickly, burns hotter and creates less ash than wood. We have enough wood to last us the next several years, but we have plans to plant bamboo in 2012 and start to harvest it to use as a fuel source. 

Do you use alternative heat sources to heat your home?

1 comment:

  1. Awww, you can just snuggle up in some wonderful quilts and bedding! I love heating with a fireplace. Of course I live in Florida so we don't get to do that much...that said, I have never tried bamboo, sounds interesting. It really takes off though so make sure you have lots of room. :) Thanks